Far-Right and Antifa Protesters Face Off With 'Telescopic Sticks,' Slingshots and Bottles in Violent Showdown

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Protesters from far-right groups Atalante and Soldiers of Odin demonstrate on the fortification during protests by allied groups La Meute and Storm Alliance in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

Forty-four protesters were arrested this weekend in Quebec, where police had to use tear gas to prevent fights between far-right activists and counter protesters.

On Saturday, between 300 and 400 members of far-right, anti-immigrant groups like La Meute and Storm Alliance marched to a convention center where Quebec's liberal party was meeting that day. They barely outnumbered 250 counter protesters, who were demonstrating against the far-right, racism and capitalism.

The Storm Alliance/La Meute is underway #qcpoli pic.twitter.com/CSkmFWd3Bu

— Sadiya Ansari (@SadiyaAnsari) November 25, 2017

Police said they arrested those who came to the protests with the intention of causing violence. While they sprayed tear gas, counter protesters threw snowballs. The arrests came in two groups -- first, 21 people who were counter protesters, and later 23 people, also counter protesters, who failed to disperse after being told to do so. A slingshot with marbles, disguises, a billy club and unknown liquids were among the items confiscated by police.

"Weapons were found: telescopic sticks, slingshots, bottles containing a liquid that is for the moment unknown, and in addition their faces were covered," police spokesman Andre Turcotte said. Roughly 1,000 people attended the demonstrations.

La Meute and Storm Alliance have both been hypercritical of the Quebec Liberal Party's multiculturalism, calling it "collective suicide." The organizations are populist and conservative.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denounced the far-right groups, calling them a "small minority" and "racists" who don't represent the whole of Quebec.

“Canada is great because we want to do better.” Watch Minister Hussen’s remarkable @TEDx talk on systemic racism, privilege and the hard conversations we need to have. https://t.co/cav7j6a8aP

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 27, 2017

"The small minority, angry, frustrated group of racists don't get to define who we are as a country, don't get to tell others who we are and don't get to change the nature of the open, accepting values that make us who we are,'' Trudeau said in August. "I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be a Quebecer and I am proud to stand with millions of Canadians who reject the hateful, harmful, heinous ideologies that we've seen in dark corners of both the Internet and our communities from time to time.''